I hadn’t really wanted a gas fireplace, but it does have its advantages. On school mornings, I’m sure I would have a hard time building a wood fire, but with gas, I can give the kids breakfast in front of the fire any morning it’s cold enough to warrant it.
Our fireplace sits in the front room. I suppose it’s the living room, but as in most houses it is not the room that sees the most of our living. Growing up, we always had the “look at” room–a place for company when they came to visit (though we rarely ever entertained) and home to the furniture we weren’t allowed to sit on.
Our living room isn’t that kind of space. Honestly, for most of the year it’s the “don’t look at” room, home to the overflow of daily life that covers every inch of the dining room table in the adjoining room. It’s also where all the postal boxes and shipping packaging seem to hang out for weeks on end, until they eventually find their way into the basement.
Truth is–it is a nice space, especially in the winter, and especially early morning, when the kids are piled up in front of the fire wrapped in blankets and sipping tea.
So it struck me as time to tend to this room–to make it a place to be.
Maybe that sounds overly ornate–to tend to the room. I mean, what did I do today? I cleaned it. Sent boxes down to the basement. Threw away magazines. Dusted and swept. So sure, I cleaned (and I guess there are probably days when this blog sounds more like it should be called Dude, Clean Your House Already!) But it wasn’t really just about cleaning. It felt more like I was coaxing something into being, much as you coax a fire from embers into something that can sustain itself, as long as you are willing to keep feeding it. In clearing out the clutter and dust, I was aware that I was also clearing out all the things that keep me from using this room as a quiet space of my own. I was also aware of how I was trying to build a space for the kids as well, a space that would be even more welcoming, and comforting, and warm.
I was cleaning a room, yes, but I was also tending the hearth.